Episode #6 – “Vashj, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen: Women Villains, Part 2”

Episode #6 – “Vashj, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen: Women Villains, Part 2”

Aug 20

Our sixth episode, the second half of a two-part series features Tzufit and Apple Cider talking with guest Anne Stickney (@shadesogrey) from WoW Insider about the concepts, lore and discussion surrounding some of Azeroth’s most notorious women villains. We get to the roots of how these women’s stories differ in motivations and story arcs from their male counterparts, as well as their shared pasts and futures.


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Below the cut is a full transcript of Episode 6, “Vashj, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen: Women Villains, Part 2.”

Apple Cider Mage:  We have been talking about humans.  We have been talking about tauren.  We have been talking about undead.  But we have not really discussed any of the night elf women.

Tzufit:  Which we should because of all the societies, they’re probably going to be the most likely to have some women who are in very high up positions of power.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yes.  We have 2 women whose fates have grown together and have taken different trajectories, but ultimately have been treated in very similar ways.  We actually discussed the first 1 at the beginning of the show, which is Azshara.  Azshara, I think, feeds into the story of Lady Vashj, Lady Vashj being one of the only end bosses other than the Empress that we have ever seen be a raid end boss in the game, whatsoever.

Anne Stickney:  Ah!  Onyxia.

Apple Cider Mage:  Onyxia again, god dammit.

Anne Stickney:  Sinestra, technically we could say Sinestra, but she didn’t have a ton of story – well she had a book.  Night of the Dragon was about Sinestra.

Apple Cider Mage:  I felt that Vashj had a bigger part in the story of Burning Crusade than even the Empress or Sinestra, although Sinestra did appear in Burning Crusade.  It’s funny, we didn’t even get into someone like Sinestra or Onyxia.  But Lady Vashj had such an important role to play in the end game of Burning Crusade.  What the naga were doing in Burning Crusade was largely due to her.  That was all her.

Anne Stickney:  Yeah.  Now Vashj is interesting because her story actually begins, again, back in Warcraft 3 like so many of the stories of Vanilla and Burning Crusade and even Wrath.  Vashj was originally, way back once upon a time, we’re talking War of the Ancients, Azshara, all that – she was Azshara’s favorite handmaiden.  She was Azshara’s right hand gal, pretty much.  She was very proud of that fact.  She was very arrogant about that fact.  There was a point in time in the War of the Ancients trilogy where Tyrande was brought to Azshara and Azshara says, “Maybe I’ll make you a handmaiden,” and Vashj like visibly rankles about that.  She’s like, “No you won’t cause I’m the best one and I will always be the best one.”  There was this whole weird thing going on there.  Vashj, I think, even tried to kill Tyrande.  I can’t remember.  That was a long series because that was like 3 big novels.  So Vashj, of course, was at Azshara’s side when the Sundering happens and they all sank under the ocean and they got turned into the naga.  They kind of disappeared and haven’t really been heard from until Illidan is looking for allies for his mission.  Vashj and her minions come out of the sea and Vashj says, “Oh, I’ll help you out.”  So that was interesting.  That was a thing.

Apple Cider Mage:  That was one of the cut scenes for Warcraft 3, wasn’t it?  It was Illidan calling the naga out of the water.

Anne Stickney:  Yes.

Apple Cider Mage:  That’s such a powerful scene, although I completely imagine it as Illidan like flipping open his phone and going through his list of contacts.  He’d be like, “Hey Lady Vashj.”  She’d be like, “Hey, what’s up?”  He’d be like, “Hey, want to come do Outlands with me?”  She’s like, “Yeah, totally.  Let’s do another Well.”

Anne Stickney:  This should be awesome.  The thing about Vashj, the thing that makes her interesting and kind of dynamic is the way that she actually brought Kael’thas into that whole trio.  It was her.  It was all her doing.  She showed up when Kael’thas was desperately trying to help the Alliance and he was being treated like crap by Garathas, and said, “Look.  They may not want to help you, but I’ll help you.  We kind of have a shared ancestry.”  And Kael’thas is like, “Say what?”  And she goes, “Well once upon a time, we were night elves and we were the highborne.  We were very much like you.  We were magic users and they condemned us.  We sank into the ocean and we turned into what we are today.  But we share something similar.  We have kind of an addiction to magic and that’s why your people are sort of falling apart.”  And Kael’thas goes, “Oh man.  I didn’t even realize that.  Oh, that sucks.”  And Vashj says, “You know, I have somebody who could probably help you out with that little problem, cause I’m allied with this dude called Illidan.  He’s pretty badass.”  Kael’thas is like, “You know what?  That sounds like a great idea because these Alliance dudes, they’re throwing me in jail.  They’re ordering my execution because I’m talking to you.  But you’re the only one I’ve been talking to who has been remotely reasonable.”  So, Vashj was the one that got Kael’thas on their side.  Vashj was the one that got Kael’thas to go to Outland and started the whole events that we saw finally play out in Burning Crusade.  Now, I imagine she didn’t think that Kael’thas would eventually go cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah, probably not.

Anne Stickney:  No, she thought that he’d be a very valuable ally and he was until Illidan went to face Arthas, nearly got killed, and then decided to sulk in the Black Temple for forever.

Apple Cider Mage:  I felt that what her and the naga were doing in Outland – I know she was working for Illidan, but I know that she definitely had her own agenda because this was the first time that she really had a spotlight after being under the sea for so long.

Anne Stickney:  It wasn’t just being under the sea, she was kind of under Azshara’s shadow.  By going to Outland, she’d pretty much taken over the Azshara role.  So what does she do?  She tries to drain all of the water of Outland to 1 spot so that she can rule over them, just like Azshara’s doing over on Azeroth.  She’s going to be Azshara part 2.

Apple Cider Mage:  No longer will she be in the shadow of a prettier lady than her and she’s going to rise to prominence.  It’s very Mean Girls.

Anne Stickney:  Kind of, yeah.  She was trying to make “fetch” happen for so long.

Apple Cider Mage:  Azshara comes back in the next expansion.  “Oh god.  Vashj, stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen.  It’s not going to work.”

Anne Stickney:  “It’s just not going to happen!”

Apple Cider Mage:  It was basically this triumvirate of power.  Obviously Kael went crazy, but I felt that at no point Vashj went down the same road as Illidan or Kael’thas where Illidan was so mired in his hate and his regret and his pain.  I felt like Vashj, out of the 3 of them, was the only 1 that really had her head on straight by the end.

Anne Stickney:  Yeah.  She was the only one that was really acting for her own self-interest, but in a way that would really make her a power.  Azeroth, I think at that point in time, Azeroth no longer mattered to her.  She had a new world to take over.  Illidan wasn’t really coherent enough to help her out or stop her from doing anything, so she kind of had her own agenda going on.  Meanwhile, Kael’thas has decided, “Well you know what?  Illidan was supposed to cure us of our addiction, but he’s being absolutely no help.  He’s up in the Black Temple.  He’s sulking.  He’s miserable.  He won’t talk to me anymore.  So, why don’t I go to the dudes who are 1 step up from Illidan?  Why don’t I go to those Burning Legion guys and why don’t I just work with them, because they know what’s what obviously, they were ordering Illidan around?”  That’s kind of where Kael’thas went a little bit haywire, but Vashj always had her head on her shoulders.  She always knew what was best for her.

Tzufit:  I think it’s because Vashj doesn’t get so mired in all the Burning Legion aspect of it that both Illidan and Kael’thas do.  As soon as you let the demons start telling you what to do, you’re going to lose a little bit of your own priorities.

Anne Stickney:  Yeah.  She was very much about herself and establishing her power.  Now did we put a stop to it?  Yes.  Did she die?  Yeah, sadly, she did.  However, we still have Azshara, who’s only been seen once in the entirety of World of Warcraft, and it was a very brief appearance.  Azshara’s one of those people who, if anybody would be the major villain of an expansion, it would be Azshara.  She was the leader of the night elves back during the whole War of the Ancients thing.  It was kind of implied, it was never flat-out stated, but it was very much implied that the reason that Azshara was so beloved and the reason that everybody was so devoted to her was because she had enough power to basically throw a glamour over the entire Kaldorei race.

Apple Cider Mage:  That’s powerful.

Anne Stickney:  And kind of influence and sway their devotion to her.  There’s a moment where Manoroth shows up and he looks at Azshara and he’s really startled and kind of frightened, because he realizes that Azshara – the only creatures he’s ever seen more powerful than the power that Azshara holds are Kil’jaeden, Archimonde, and Sargeras.  That’s it.

Apple Cider Mage:  When I first approached the Azshara story, here you have this horrifically powerful woman and I feel like maybe some of the Blizzard story writing behind it – and I know that we talked about these sorts of things when we were talking about the women of Pandaria where we talked about how the Empress felt like the writers were having like a “mommy issues” moment because they’re really terrified of this female figure that existed outside of the mantid society and was the creator of all the mantid.  I feel like in a lot of ways Azshara feels like a “popular girl” kind of issue story, because Azshara is so beautiful and so powerful, but it really hides the wickedness that’s inside of her.

Anne Stickney:  Is she really that beautiful or does she just make everybody think that she’s that beautiful?

Tzufit:  But I think that kind of even would play into what Apple Cider’s saying, because it’s that whole sort of, “Oh well this popular girl really isn’t as great as she thinks she is.”

Apple Cider Mage:  Everybody thinks she’s nice.  She’s not really nice.  She’s terrible.  Is Azshara terrible?  Absolutely.  She was completely obsessed with the idea of cleaning out the entirety of Azeroth and remaking it in her image.  We have talked about that with every other villain.

Anne Stickney:  Zin-Azshari was not Zin-Azshari before Azshara came to power.  They renamed it after her because she was that beloved.  Now when Azshara was born, she was born with golden eyes, which was supposed to be a mark of greatness in Kaldorei society.  So she was essentially raised with the assumption that she was going to rise to greatness.  She had remarkable magic power and prowess.  She started gathering people that also showed a great mark of power and prowess to her and bringing them closer to her and working with her.  Those were her favored ones.  Those were her highborne.  The whole War of the Ancients thing was kind of like the druids and the priestesses of Elune and the people who weren’t really gung-ho about harnessing and using the Well of Eternity against the people that were – Azshara and the highborne.  So it was kind of like a night elf civil war, but then the Burning Legion was also there because in all of that magical experimentation they were doing, they drew the attention of Sargeras.  I have a feeling 99% of that was Azshara.  It was the fact that Azshara, as Manoroth said, her power rivals that of – the only people higher than her that Manoroth knows of are Kil’jaeden, Archimonde, and Sargeras.  Of course she’s going to draw Sargeras’ interest.

Apple Cider Mage:  It’s a lightning rod.  It’s a magical lightning rod and she either by nature or nurture – I have a feeling that a lot of Azshara’s wickedness and single-minded focus on herself, her power, was shaped by the fact that she was told from day 1 that she was special and that she was powerful and that she was great.  Everybody loved her.  On top of that, you have the Burning Legion coming through and being like, “We can remake this world for you.  We can do whatever it is that you want.”  How are you not going to succumb to that?

Anne Stickney:  Yeah, and she’s very much – she’s a very arrogant figure.  She’s a very selfish figure.  She’s probably the epitome of both of those things because she absolutely had no problem with unleashing the Burning Legion on her people and going, “You can just cull out the weak ones cause we don’t really need them.  I’ll be over here primping myself for when Sargeras shows up because I’m going to be his consort and rule at his side.  That’s what’s going to happen here.  We’re going to get married.  It’s going to be beautiful.  And we’ll live happily ever after.”  That’s like Azshara to a T.  But the thing is, when that all fell down around her, when her palace was sinking into the ocean, she got whispers and they said, “We will make you more powerful than you are.  We will make you more powerful than you have ever been if you ally with us.”  And she said, “Ok.”  And they turned her into the naga.  That was the Old Gods.  So at that point, Azshara and the rest of the naga became servants of the Old Gods.  That kind of leads up into Cataclysm where we get that brief appearance from Azshara.  The whole mess that happened in Darkshore that ripped everything apart – the tornado that was there that Malfurion was trying to desperately to control, all of that was Azshara’s doing.

Apple Cider Mage:  Oh, I didn’t know that.

Anne Stickney:  It was to distract him from what was going on up on Hyjal.  It was to keep him distracted long enough that Ragnaros and the rest of the fire elementals could establish something up there and get the World Tree.  That was, again, all part of the grand plan of Deathwing and the Old Gods.  Now, Malfurion discovers this at the very tail end of the Darkshore storyline.  If you haven’t played through it, I would recommend playing through it to the end there, because what you do is you go find the Horn of Cenarius and you kill the guardians and you pick up the horn and Azshara shows up.

Tzufit:  Yeah, with the Lady Vashj model, unfortunately.  She doesn’t have her own yet.

Anne Stickney:  Yeah, she doesn’t have her own yet.  Malfurion shows up and goes, “Holy crap.”  And he’s like, “What are you doing here?”  And she goes, “I’m so glad you totally enjoyed my little diversion, because Hyjal’s in flames.  Thanks!  Bye!”  And then she disappears.  And Malfurion goes, “Oh crap.”  And that’s when he goes up to Hyjal.  So it’s like this kind of roundabout storyline to sort of introduce you into what you’ll see at level 80 up in Hyjal.  All of a sudden it’s like, Malfurion’s up here now.  Good.  I’m glad he got his priorities straight.

Tzufit:  I’ve always taken that quest line as a testament to just how much she must hate Malfurion, because you know that there is no way Azshara would settle for being the distraction.  That’s beneath her.  She should be the main attraction for what’s going down in Azeroth.  But I think the only way she would have subjected herself to being the lesser of the 2 evils there, is because she knew in the end she was going to get to gloat to Malfurion.

Anne Stickney:  It was partially that and it was partially the Old Gods promised her power.  Now the thing is, Azshara back in the War of the Ancients, when she was a night elf and Manoroth was looking at her, he said, “Wow.  You’re second only to Kil’jaeden, Archimonde, and Sargeras.”  And then she sinks into the ocean and the Old Gods say, “Hey.  How’d you like some more power?”  How powerful is Azshara now?  Now what I think she’s been doing all of this time is simply biding her time.  She’s been waiting.  She’s been faithful to the Old Gods, serving them, seeing what happened with that.  It was a flat out failure in Cataclysm.  This was supposed to be the moment of the Old Gods in which they would break free.  Deathwing would do his whole destruction thing and chaos would reign and the Old Gods would rule, and it didn’t work.  It didn’t work.  It all fell apart.  So now Azshara is sitting there, underwater, wondering.  “Ok.  I allied myself with these Old God guys who seemed to have this whole big plan that was all really well put together, and they screwed up in such a major way.  So now what?  Hmm.  Should I really be allied with them?  I don’t think so,” which is why I’m thinking if we see any kind of Burning Legion anything, Azshara should absolutely be a part of that.  What is she most likely to do?  If the Old Gods failed her, what’s her next step?

Tzufit:  She’s going to go back.

Anne Stickney:  She could always go back and see if her boy-toy would still take her as a consort and rework the world in her image because that would be really cool.

Apple Cider Mage:  She has such power now, and we kind of got an idea – and this is not even a lore thing, this is a game mechanic thing – Blizzard had the plans for a naga raid.  There was construction and stuff for it but they just decided that there was not a place for it.  I have a feeling that Azshara would have been slotted in, but again didn’t have time for it or didn’t have story setup for it.  I have a feeling, yeah, she’s going to come back and she’s going to come back in a major way.  She is just going to wreck some shit.

Tzufit:  I’ve been wondering since that revelation when we heard that the naga had been on the table as a playable race at one point in time.  You can’t imagine that Azshara is ever going to be anything but a villain.  That’s not going to happen.

Anne Stickney:  Never ever ever.

Tzufit:  So if the naga are going to become a playable race, that means that either Azshara is dead or they’ve defected from her in some way.

Apple Cider Mage:  And how is that even possible?

Tzufit:  Right.  How is that possible?  How did they break away?  Do they still have power if they break away from her?  What could that possibly mean?  And, more importantly, what the hell does she do to these people who are completely devoted to her in every way to make them go, “You know what?  Screw you.  We’re going and joining the Alliance or joining Horde.”

Anne Stickney:  Perhaps the most important thing of all, what exactly are they going to wear for shoes?

Tzufit:  Yeah, and how are they going to wear pants?  What’s their tier going to look like?

Anne Stickney:  What the hell is that going to look like?

Apple Cider Mage:  We’ve been killing these guys for years.  Do you really think the Alliance or the Horde is just going to be like, “Well they said that they’re not into Azshara anymore.  I guess that sounds like a good idea.”  Especially Malfurion.

Anne Stickney:  Their entire creation was at the behest of the Old Gods.  I don’t really see them breaking away from that.  I just don’t see it.  People talk about naga as a playable race.  It just doesn’t make sense from a lore standpoint.  They would never – Azshara ruled over Kaldorei society when she had only part of the power that she currently possesses.  I don’t think it’s possible.  I don’t think we’re ever going to see a playable naga ever.  It would just be too far out there.

Apple Cider Mage:  They made her in such totality.  I feel like Azshara, out of all the women that we’ve discussed, they made her in such totality a complete, whole villain.  She’s got motives.  She’s got power.  She’s got no concern for anybody but herself.  This is not a revenge thing.  This is her on the same quest for power that so many of the other male villains have been.  She’s not burdened by things like regret or pain or romance.  She’s just on a one-woman crusade.

Anne Stickney:  She’s kind of got a thing for Sargeras but he won’t return her calls, so.

Apple Cider Mage:  I’m destroying your whole world and you won’t call me back.

Anne Stickney:  I still like the idea of her telling Vashj “fetch is never going to happen.”  Ok, we’ve got like 1 left, don’t we?

Apple Cider Mage:  Yes and this is the crowning jewel of a discussion about villains is somebody who was not a villain to start with and has traveled into the realm of villain, and that is Maiev.  This is a very interesting topic and I do not have as much background in this character as Tzufit or Anne, so they’re going to probably dominate this discussion.  She’s such an interesting character and from my standpoint – we talked about Sylvanas – she’s one of those characters who I felt Blizzard kind of did a disservice of making her story up to that point kind of fall apart because her 1 sole drive had dried up or died.

Anne Stickney:  I think it’s interesting where they’ve gone with her, but we’ll get into that.  Tzufit, you probably have lots to say.

Tzufit:  I’m fundamentally sad about where she’s gone.  I’ll just give a high level overview of how we got there, I guess.  Basically we have Maiev who was one of the Sisters of Elune with Tyrande.  When the previous high priestess is handing over her power to the next person-

Anne Stickney:  She died.  She was killed and on her deathbed, who does she name as successor?

Tzufit:  Right.  As we know, she names Tyrande who has displayed great power.  She obviously has this innate, inborn aptitude for being able to serve Elune, which is why the former high priestess names her as successor.  Now, Maiev is not thrilled about that because she’s a lot more experienced.  She’s a little bit older.  She’s been doing this for a while, basically.  So she feels a little bit stilted but she gets over it and she serves Tyrande as she should as the high priestess.  Well, then some things happen with the Well of Eternity, which you guys may have heard about already.

Anne Stickney:  And the world kind of went kaboom.

Tzufit:  Right.  Obviously, that was Illidan’s fault and somebody’s going to need to be in charge of watching Illidan for the rest of his life, which could probably be a very long time because he’s a night elf.

Anne Stickney:  And they’re immortal now because of that whole World Tree thing.  The interesting thing about Maiev is her relationship with her brother has been kind of on and off again.  What happened was Jared, her brother, came across Illidan when Illidan was like “Oh look, a pool of water at the top of Hyjal.  I think I’ll make another Well of Eternity.”  And Jared said, “What the hell are you doing?  Don’t you realize that war that we were just fighting, the one that blew up the world – that was a giant puddle of water?  And what’s your solution to this?  Oh, let’s make another one.  No.  No.  Bad.  Bad demony thingy,” only he wasn’t quite demony at that point.  He had the weird eye thing going on.  He tried to kill Jared and Maiev saw that and her first response was, “I am going to kill you.”  And Malfurion said, “No.  We’re not going to kill him, we’re just going to imprison him for the rest of his life, which will be forever.”

Apple Cider Mage:  Cause that makes all the sense.

Tzufit:  Right.  Cause that’s more humane.

Anne Stickney:  Well it was his twin brother, so there is some kind of connection there.  Malfurion has kind of this notorious history of being a little bit wishy-washy when it comes to death sentences.  They said, “Ok.  Highborne, you can’t practice magic anymore upon penalty of death.”  So a bunch of highborne said, “Hey, we’re going to practice magic.  Look, see, we can control it.  Let’s destroy part of Ashenvale.”  And Malfurion shows up and says, “You know that death sentence?  We’re just going to banish you instead.  Ok?  I feel really squicky about killing people.  Thanks.”

Tzufit:  To be fair to Malfurion in this instance, he actually gives Jared the choice of what Illidan’s fate is going to be.  And so Jared has the option of whether to kill him or to imprison him forever, but then Jared goes, “Oh no Malfurion, you decide.  It’s up to you.”

Apple Cider Mage:  That’s terrible.

Anne Stickney:  Jared is one of those characters who never wanted to be a leader, but he was forced into that leadership role and he excelled at it.  He absolutely excelled at it in every capacity.  Everybody followed him.  They thought he was awesome.  They thought he was amazing.  Meanwhile he’s kind of sitting there going, “I don’t really want to be here,” which is why he disappeared later on down the road.  So Illidan imprisoned forever.  Maiev says, “Oh, oh, oh.  I will guard him forever if you don’t mind me spitting on him every now and again.”  And Malfurion says, “You know what?  We’ll let you have that.”  And then, what happens after that, Tzufit?

Tzufit:  Well and of course, she forms her elite team of Watchers to help her guard him and maybe occasionally spit on him.  A few millennia down the road, then we get to the point where Tyrande decides, “Hey, we kind of need Illidan back, and I know we told you guys that he should stay here forever and you should never let him out for any reason because he’s the most dangerous person in night elf society ever now that Azshara’s gone.”  So then what happens is Tyrande essentially brings down the prison around the Watchers, right?

Anne Stickney:  She kills some of the Watchers on her way to free Illidan because they won’t listen to her.

Tzufit:  Because they’re doing what they think they’re supposed to do, which is preventing someone from breaking Illidan out of prison.

Anne Stickney:  Right.  Even though Tyrande is the leader of the night elves, they don’t want to let him go.

Tzufit:  And it’s totally understandable why they would question it, because they have come from a place where the leader of the night elves, who seemed pretty trustworthy, charismatic – what did she do?  She invited Sargeras to come kill a whole bunch of us.  So I think it’s understandable that there is this dissention that’s inherent to the night elf society where it’s like, “We can’t necessarily trust our leaders completely.  We should always question what’s happening.”

Anne Stickney:  The whole reason that they went from leader of the night elves from being a queen or a king, I guess, I don’t know if there was ever a king.  We don’t know who was there before Azshara.  We just know that Azshara was queen and they renamed the capital city after her.  Instead of appointing a new queen, you’ll notice that Tyrande is not the queen.  Malfurion is not the king.  Tyrande is the High Priestess of Elune.  They decided, I think that the majority of that decision rested in the fact that Elune would be guiding her.  Their goddess would be guiding her.  So there wouldn’t be as much of a chance of that corruption happening because if she got to full of herself, Elune would stop talking to her.  Elune would stop granting her power.  So there was kind of an extra check of safety.  But I tell you what – the second Tyrande went in there and said, “Oh you’re not going to let me set him free?  Ok, we’ll just kill you.”  That whole bitter thing that Maiev had against Tyrande when Tyrande was made high priestess, it all came back right there.  She was not happy.  She was not happy that Illidan was being allowed to go free.  She was not happy that Tyrande was the one that let him go.  She was not happy that Malfurion did nothing to stop her.

Tzufit:  So what you get at this point is Tyrande and the sentinels free Illidan.  And at this point he turns into a demon and Maiev’s just like, “You have got to be kidding me.  I can’t facepalm hard enough.”

Anne Stickney:  “My god, what did I tell you guys?  I said, you let him go he’s going to turn on us.  What did he do?  Duh.  Tyrande, you’re a moron.”  Yeah, so that was all there.

Tzufit:  So then you’ve got this wild ride around Kalimdor, where Maiev is trying to trace down Illidan and he’s got all these satyrs and all these other guys trying to help him out.  But she’s staying right on track of him all the way, until they get to the point where he’s going to go into the Tomb of Sargeras because he needs to steal the Eye of Sargeras.

Anne Stickney:  Now keep in mind that the whole reason that Illidan was looking for the Eye of Sargeras was to use it to stop the Lich King, because that’s what the Burning Legion told him to do.  It had nothing to do with the Kaldorei.  It had nothing to do with anyone else.  He was just trying to do his job for the Burning Legion, which was great rid of this big bad dude.

Tzufit:  Yeah.  Let’s not pretend that this is any kind of loyalty to Tyrande or to Malfurion.

Anne Stickney:  No.  There was nothing going on involving the Kaldorei at all.  Maiev, however, said “Illidan’s here, I’m totally going to catch him again.”  They go after him.

Tzufit:  We should mention to, at this point, that Maiev’s first lieutenant, whose name is Naisha has been with her the whole time pursuing him through Kalimdor.  Of course, because this is Warcraft, we get no statements of sex pretty much whatsoever, but this is one of the few relationships that people identify that may be a queer relationship in Warcraft.  There are some people who point to Maiev and Naisha as being a homosexual couple.  Now of course we have absolutely no concrete evidence to prove or disprove that, but take it as you will.  Whether they were romantically involved or not, Naisha was absolutely Maiev’s first lieutenant.  She is clearly the person that Maiev was closest to of all of the Watchers and the person she trusted the most completely.  All of this is important because when Illidan gets his Eye of Sargeras and comes out of the tomb, he causes a ridiculous cave in and we don’t know it for sure, but it’s pretty clear that Naisha is killed in the process of this.

Anne Stickney:  A ton of the Watchers are, really.

Tzufit:  Yes.  Not just Naisha, but she is one of the ones and Maiev understandably loses her shit at that point.

Apple Cider Mage:  I would imagine so, even if they weren’t girlfriends Illidan has done nothing by destroy, maim, kill, corrupt everybody that she loves or cares about.

Anne Stickney:  At that point, Maiev chases him to the Eastern Kingdoms and Tyrande and Malfurion go with her.  She’s clever.  She’s really mean, but she’s clever at this point.  There’s a bridge collapse and Tyrande gets washed down the river.  Malfurion isn’t there to witness it, but Maiev makes absolutely no move to go save Tyrande.  She goes back to Malfurion and says, “Well, Tyrande’s dead.  It’s very, very sad.  Let’s go get Illidan.”  Kael’thas, who just sort of stumbled across Tyrande and Maiev and was like, “Yeah, sure I’ll help you out.”  He’s like “But she didn’t really die, she was just washed down the river.”  And Malfurion goes “What?”  And Illidan goes “What?”  And then they both turn to Maiev and go, “Excuse me?”  And she’s like, “Well she looked dead when she was trying to breathe and swim and stuff.”

Tzufit:  “It was inevitable, probably.”

Anne Stickney:  “Look, it was probably going to happen anyway.  Can we just imprison Illidan now?”  Malfurion and Illidan are both absolutely furious with her.  They leave.  They go rescue Tyrande, and Tyrande and Malfurion say, “Ok.  Illidan, you’re OK.  You’re pretty cool.  But you’re not allowed on Kalimdor anymore and we’re going home.”  Maiev find him and captures him in Outland.  She actually goes through the portal to go to Outland, captures Illidan.  He’s freed by Vashj and Kael’thas.  So her entire existence has been wrapped up in capturing Illidan.  Instead, she ends up being captured and she’s imprisoned.  We find here again, finally, in Burning Crusade locked in a cell in front of the Black Temple.

Apple Cider Mage:  That was such a big reveal, by the way.

Anne Stickney:  Oh my god, when I first saw her I was like “Oh!  There she is!”

Apple Cider Mage:  Yeah.  You knew that there was something coming.  They alluded to it in the patch for Burning Crusade, but if you had done any questing in Shadowmoon, that’s what lead up to it.  And that reveal was such a huge thing.  “Oh my god!  She’s down there!  And Akama!  And oh my god!”

Anne Stickney:  And not only is she there, but she’s working with Akama because Akama has decided that Illidan is not the cool guy that he thought he was and he’s been working all this time to secretly overthrow Illidan, take the Black Temple back, and turn it back into the temple that it was meant to be, the draenei temple that it was back in the day.  So he frees Maiev and sets her loose and says, “Go get him.”  And when you get to that final fight with Illidan in the Black Temple, she shows up at the very end.  She throws down traps and you drag Illidan into the traps, which some people did.  We never did.  We just kind of ignored that part of it because she never put them down in a good spot.  But she strikes the final blow.  He’s weak.  She strikes the final blow and he has his last words and he says, “The hunter is nothing without the prey, and you are nothing without me.”  And then he’s dead.  She’s like, “Oh my god, he is so right.  My life sucks.”  And then she kind of wanders off to think about this.

Apple Cider Mage:  That was such a cop out.  And I’m so mad about that because – it makes me so angry because the idea that this centuries old night elf guardian Watcher is just caput because Illidan’s dead.

Anne Stickney:  He had a point, though.  She spent her entire life, and we’re talking well over 10,000 years, dedicated to locking him away and killing him.  That’s what her single-minded focus was.  That’s what she was living her life for.  Much like Sylvanas was living her life to kill the Lich King, Maiev was living her life to kill Illidan, and once he was dead she had to face that same question that Sylvanas did.  What the hell do I do now?  So she goes back to Darnassus and she goes back because what else can she do?

Tzufit:  Before we get on to the Wolfheart stuff, I just want to focus on that single-mindedness.  The thing that bothers me about that, and it bothers me with Sylvanas too, is that there are lots of people who had very personal reasons to want to kill the Lich King or to want to kill Illidan.  I don’t think we can argue that anybody had been as mistreated by the Lich King as Sylvanas had, except in some ways maybe Kel’thuzad.  But that’s a different problem.  And yet still, we don’t see that all these paladins who had been working to kill Arthas ever since he turned, they don’t say “Oh my life is over now we’ve finally killed Arthas.”  They go home.  They move on to the next thing.  They have other places to be.  With Sylvanas and with Maiev, that’s not what happens for them.  On one level, I can see the argument for it, but on the other it’s frustrating to have these great characters who are constructed for a single moment and that moment comes and they get no triumph from it.  They get no satisfaction from it.  We’re basically told that their story is now meaningless.

Anne Stickney:  Well now, you do have to realize too that the common theme between Sylvanas and Maiev was that they were both introduced during Warcraft 3.  That was really the first time that Warcraft had done any kind of really huge in-depth story.  So these characters, when they were written and when they were established, I don’t know if it was with the idea of World of Warcraft and furthering their story and all of that in mind.

Tzufit:  Sure.

Anne Stickney:  And Maiev’s ending wasn’t really so much of an ending as it was a moment where she realized, “I need to find a new purpose.”  Now these paladins that have been working to eradicate the Scourge and all of that and dedicated their lives to that, they also have families.  They have homes.  They have lives.  They have people that they surround themselves with that they want to go home to after all of this is over.  Maiev is kind of isolationist in that aspect.  Sylvanas was a product of her own isolation because she died and that connection that she had to her people as a Ranger General of Silvermoon, that was severed once she was raised as a banshee.  She could never go back.  So really she didn’t have a lot driving her because it was like, “Well what else is there?  I can’t go back to Silvermoon and say ‘Hey, s’up guys?  I’m dead, but I’m not.’”

Apple Cider Mage:  She had all her family taken away from her.

Tzufit:  Right, and Maiev does try to go home, which I think, Anne, is where you were heading before we had that detour.  She does go back to Darnassus.  She does reunite with her brother.

Anne Stickney:  She does, and she’s not happy with what she’s seeing.  Now keep in mind that Maiev is a product of Kaldorei society from back 10,000 years ago.

Tzufit:  Right.  So she has a completely different perspective.

Anne Stickney:  Way, way before the Alliance existed.  Way before humans were even a glimmer in evolution’s eye, Maiev existed.  She’s very much a traditionalist.  Honestly, I think she kind of stepped up and took the role that Fandral could have played had they not screwed over his character entirely in Cataclysm, which I’m still mad about.  But in Wolfheart, we see a Maiev who is very angry and the reason that she’s angry is that she’s watching how Tyrande and how Malfurion are leading the Kaldorei.  They’re allied with a bunch of different races.  They allow these different races into Darnassus.  They aren’t isolationists anymore, which frankly, the world was a better place when they were isolationists as far as Maiev is concerned.  They’re not xenophobic and as far as Maiev is concerned, it’s very much the same sort of frame of mind of Fandral, in which the Kaldorei are the superior race.  They have been around the longest.  They have no reason to ally with these other little piddling races that have been around and existing for like a blink of an eye to an immortal night elf.

Tzufit:  I think the real kicker for her, too, is that the highborne have been allowed back into Darnassus.

Anne Stickney:  That was the big thing right there, because the one thing that Maiev has carried with her all this time, and it fueled that obsession with eradicating Illidan, is the Sundering and the War of the Ancients, the whole highborne against Kaldorei.  That resulted in disaster on a global scale.  It shattered Kalimdor into what exists today.  Maiev doesn’t want to see that happen again, and she understands that the moment that you start playing with that kind of arcane power again, this is what’s going to happen.  Logically:  A, B, C.  We had A, and then we had B, and then we had C, and then the world exploded, and then we went back to A again.  A was good.  A was perfect.  Only Tyrande and Malfurion have now moved on to B, not only letting these guys back into Kaldorei society, but allowing them to practice magic freely and teach it to other people.  To Maiev, that is disgusting.  That is downright – that is the worst thing possible that they could be doing.

Tzufit:  This is where I am sad about where her story goes in Wolfheart, because all of that is completely logical based on what she’s seen.  Yeah, this sounds like a really bad idea, which is really kind of the undercurrents that we’ve been getting in general for a long time in Warcraft now.  Maybe we’re doing some stuff that isn’t such a good plan in the long run, or at least we’re manipulating powers that we can’t foresee exactly who we’re going to attract because we’re doing it, and what other circumstances are going to come from this.  All that makes sense.  I guess what I would have loved for Maiev is to come in and be this sensible and logical counterpart to Tyrande’s approach to governing the night elves.

Anne Stickney:  Oh, not going to happen.  Maiev’s a hothead.  She is such a hothead and she’s always going to clash.

Tzufit:  She’s always going to clash but this is not the same Maiev that didn’t appreciate being passed over for the high priestess position but understood why and served with Tyrande as a faithful Warden, as a faithful Sister of Elune prior to that.  So understandably, the entire experience with Illidan has changed her quite a bit and has made her distrust the night elves in particular, but Malfurion and Tyrande especially much more than she did before.

Anne Stickney:  It’s not that she distrusts the night elves, it’s really not that.  It’s that she has a very fierce hatred for the highborne or anyone remotely resembling a highborne.  That’s completely understandable given what happened back in the War of the Ancients.  But you also have to look at once Maiev said, “Hey I’m going to go ahead and guard Illidan” and went into that hole and stayed there for like almost 10,000 years, that’s 10,000 years of isolation with herself, her sisters in the Watchers, and Illidan.  Her focus was always on that.  Any evolution or social development or anything like that that happened outside when Tyrande was leading was something that Maiev just didn’t witness.  She doesn’t even see Fandral.  She didn’t see the whole War of the Shifting Sands.  She didn’t see any of that.  None of that was even a factor to her.  To her, there was nothing more than herself, her sisters, and their dedication to their duty.  And Tyrande came in, interrupted that duty, killed her sisters and let free the one guy that she’d been guarding for like 10,000 years.  What the hell is Tyrande thinking?  What the hell is she doing?

Apple Cider Mage:  And then she comes back to the party and there’s dogs and people doing magic again.

Anne Stickney:  Oh yeah.  She was not happy about the Gilneans and the worgen being there either.  She didn’t think that they had a place anywhere in Darnassus or near Darnassus.  And she was very uncomfortable with the fact that they were there.  Again, you have to go back to who the Kaldorei were at the time that Maiev became a Watcher and essentially withdrew from society.  They were a very isolationist society.  They didn’t talk to any of the other races, really.  They certainly didn’t have any alliances or anything like that.  None of that.  They were very much an inclusive kind of nocturnal society that hid themselves away.  They were perfectly happy with that.  One could argue that they did better with that standpoint than they did by joining the Alliance because boy have they had a lot of crap happen to them.  Once they said, “Hey Alliance, we’ll go ahead and ally with you,” life has kind of gone to hell for Darnassus.  Part of that was self-generated by Fandral, obviously.  The whole establishment of Teldrassil was not a good idea and he was under the influence of very bad things when he made that decision, unbeknownst to him.  Fandral – I still kick – he could have been so good.  But Maiev is actually the one person who could stand up in his place and do so in a much more sympathetic way because she’s right.  Everything that she believes is right.  All of the evidence is there.

Tzufit:  That’s the thing for me.  She’s right.  The evidence is there.  Her position makes complete sense.  But because of the way that they’ve framed her as being insane or she’s described as a megalomaniac in the novel.  So at this point it’s like well there goes all the credibility for this really powerful, very logical character who has completely valid concerns about the really dumb shit that we’ve been doing.  The second you say, “Well she’s crazy,” all of a sudden it’s like, “Oh well, don’t listen to anything she says because we’re probably just going to have to kill her soon anyway.”

Anne Stickney:  Now here’s the thing, you could say that she’s crazy and they were saying that she was crazy and it’s because they thought that her actions were crazy.  Is Maiev crazy?  No.  Not in the slightest.  She’s not.  She has her own mindset, her own beliefs, and she believes that her beliefs are the one true correct thing to believe in.  She’s very single-minded about that.  She’s just as single-minded about that as she was about hunting down Illidan and keeping him locked away because that’s what she does.  She latches on to something and she runs with it.  One thing you can always bank on is Maiev’s devotion, because once she is devoted to something, she is there all the way to the end.  Now her methods of trying to get the highborne out were very clever.  They were very underhanded.

Tzufit:  We should explain.  She’s basically just kind of murdering them and she dropped a couple of their bodies over by where the Watchers’ training area is.  Then she manages to get herself put in charge of the investigation to figure out who murdered them.

Anne Stickney:  Yeah.  “Who’s faming us?  I don’t know, maybe it’s those worgen people that you let in here because they aren’t Kaldorei so we can’t really trust them.  Maybe they just kind of went weirdo and decided to murder these guys.”  At the same time, the highborne are so upset that their people are being picked off that they’re getting kind of antagonistic about it.  “Maybe, just by cleverly doing this and planting a few bodies, I can set these two against each other enough that Tyrande and Malfurion finally come to their senses and say ‘Ok.  All ya’ll out of the pool.  We’re done with you.’”  I think that’s really what she was going for.  When that kind of backfired on her, her immediate next act was to kill Malfurion – or try to.  That’s where she stepped over the line.

Tzufit:  Yeah, because she’s got it in her head – and maybe not completely wrongly – that Malfurion is just as arrogant as Illidan and he’s going to cause equally big problems.

Anne Stickney:  Well he already has.  He was sleeping for all that time-

Apple Cider Mage:  I would have killed him.

Anne Stickney:  He comes back, there’s this whole Alliance thing going on.  He’s letting the highborne into Kaldorei society again.  He’s basically retracing Illidan’s footsteps where he’s saying, “Ok, the highborne are A-Ok.”  And they’re not.  They’re not and they never have been.  I’m pretty sure that if she had successfully killed Malfurion, her next step would be to take out Tyrande because Tyrande’s obviously cuckoo as well.  She’s Ok with allying with all these lesser races.  “What the heck is going on with that?  What has happened to the Kaldorei?  I don’t know, but I’m going to fix it.”

Tzufit:  You can almost see her as an Alliance counterpart for Garrosh in that way.

Anne Stickney:  Kinda, kinda.  What I’d like to see happen with her, is I’d like to see some sort of night elf civil war thing going on.  Now somebody once asked me in The Queue, they said, “What would you do if you were given a magical pen and allowed to rewrite something?”  And I said that I would bring Fandral back and change his stuff completely because, honestly, it would have been really cool to see something set up where there was a civil war going on between night elf factions, where Fandral and his people that rallied behind him and believed that the old ways were the best ways were set against Tyrande and Malfurion and the highborne and all of the people who are more forward and progressive thinking.  Number 1 – that’s an interesting political thing.  Number 2 – how does the rest of the Alliance handle that?  And how does Varian handle that?  Varian can’t just swoop in to a 10,000 year old society and say, “Ok, you guys hug it out.”  He can’t do it.  So seeing him interact with that and seeing what happens with the Gilneans and with the draenei, those people that are in close proximity, there’s all of this political intrigue that could have happened there had Fandral been left alive.  But Maiev could step up into that spot just as easily, I think.  Do I want her dead?  No.  Absolutely not.  She’s a fascinating character.  And she didn’t die in the end of Wolfheart.  She got away.  We don’t know where she is now.

Tzufit:  Her brother Jared is given the opportunity to kill her.  Events come up that he could have killed her, but he just kind of drives her away because he doesn’t want to kill his own sister.

Anne Stickney:  He can’t do it.  That’s fine.  That’s perfectly in character with Jared, too.  I could see Maiev taking that role, you know?

Tzufit:  I think either you or possibly Rossi have talked before in your lore columns about the way that right now the Horde has taken this shift from being a group that got along very well for a long period of time, to all of the sudden being incredibly volatile; whereas the Alliance, who weren’t maybe volatile in the same ways the Horde is now, didn’t have that cohesive relationship and then since Cataclysm the Alliance has really been a unified front.  So it would be nice to see a storyline like that that kind of puts a wrench into it and gives the Alliance something internal to deal with again.

Anne Stickney:  The thing is, I don’t think the Alliance are a unified front right now.  I think they’re mostly unified because they’re unified against Garrosh.  Once Garrosh is taken care of, where do they go?  I talked about this on last week’s Know Your Lore.  The Horde has been given a series of story blocks in which they are fractured and splintered apart by Garrosh’s actions and it pulls them together in a way that makes them even stronger.  By the end of 5.4, yes Garrosh will be dead or imprisoned or whatever happens to him.  I don’t know what’s going to happen to him.  But the rest of the Horde is going to be left to pick up the pieces and that united front behind the Darkspear Rebellion, which includes the Forsaken, includes the blood elves, includes the tauren, it includes everybody that isn’t a Kor’kron that’s following Garrosh.  Right?  They’re going to be stronger, more united than ever before, whereas the Alliance, once you get to that point and Garrosh is taken care of, well now what do you do?  Let’s look at this realistically.  Westfall is still in tatters.  Stormwind is still kind of there, not quite there.  Varian has never really been able to address any of the issues that were a fallout of Onyxia’s deception and manipulation.  He never had a chance to.  He came back and went to a peace summit and then the peace summit was interrupted because Wrath of the Lich King was upon us and he had to go back and defend Stormwind.  Then there was the war in Northrend, and then there was all the chaos from the Cataclysm, and then there was the whole thing with Garrosh.  So Varian’s never had a chance to actually sit down and look at the Alliance and go, “Ok.  What can we do to make things stronger?”  Meanwhile, we’ve got the gnomes who made a half-hearted attempt to take back Gnomeregan and took back a little piece of it, but they still haven’t gotten the whole dang thing back yet and that’s not fair.  You have the dwarves who are still in this kind of civil upset although maybe that’s been addressed a little bit in the Blood in the Snow scenario.  I still don’t think that everybody’s going to be kosher and shaking hands with the Dark Iron any time soon.  You have the draenei who are just sort of floating out there going, “Hey, why are we here?  I don’t know.  Ok.  Well our ship is working again, so we could leave, I guess.  But Velen says no because there’s something big happening or something that hasn’t happened yet.”  You have the night elves who are still kind of in this series of traumatic disarray.  Most of Darkshore was wiped out.  Lots of people died.  There was that whole mess with Fandral where they found out that the World Tree was corrupted and the whole Nightmare War that we never saw in-game.  The Alliance, when we come out of this, the only thing they’ll have to hold up and say, “Yay, we did it” is we defeated Garrosh.  And that’s it.  That’s not enough.  That’s really, really not enough.  Not for what the Horde has done.  Not for the destruction of Theramore.  Not for all of the lives lost.  It’s not enough.  So there has to be something to unite these guys, maybe something like a civil revolution in Kaldorei society would be something to bring everybody closer together where they’re like, “Ok.  How do we deal with this?  How do we handle this?  And how do we move forward as a united front?”  Sorry.  I get really volatile when you ask me about the Alliance.  I don’t even play Alliance.  I have like an Alliance alt that I play for the storylines, but my main is not an Alliance character.  But I still love the Alliance story and there’s so much there that’s untapped.  I just wish that they’d go ahead and tap it and focus on it.

Apple Cider Mage:  I really feel like to kind of cap this discussion and bring it all back to the beginning, is that I think some of the reasons that we have such strong attachments to our factions and such strong attachments to all of these characters that we discussed, especially, is because there’s so much left yet to go with their stories.  I feel like this is not the end that we have seen of any of the characters that we talked about today.

Anne Stickney:  Except for Vashj.  She’s done.

Tzufit:  And possibly Vanessa but hopefully not.

Anne Stickney:  Vanessa there’s still kind of an open door.

Apple Cider Mage:  The rest of them either have places that they could go or we haven’t seen them in a long time.  I feel like there is a time for a great upheaval not in the landscape, like in Cataclysm, but I feel that there is a great upheaval coming in the kinds of characters that are going to rise to power and the kinds of characters that are going to come up through the ranks of the Alliance and the Horde.  I don’t think all of them are men.  I hope that not all of them are men.  I really want to see more women villains.  I want to see more women in power.  I feel like we have something on the horizon like that.  I hope that it’s there, because honestly it’s time.

Anne Stickney:  Forget the villains.  I want to see Jaina take Dalaran and just land it right on the Theramore crater.  Be like, “Yeah, you destroyed my city.  Boom!  Here’s a bigger one.  Take that one out.”  It’s not going to happen.  I’m impressed with what they’ve done with Jaina so far this expansion.  But, yeah, she’s not a villain.

Tzufit:  Well, I certainly felt like I was working for a villain when I was going and killing a whole bunch of Sunreavers, but that’s another story.

Anne Stickney:  She was ticked.  But she had every right to be ticked.  She might have gone a little overboard.

Tzufit:  She did.  I just get a little nervous when an NPC asks me to commit mass slaughter.

Apple Cider Mage:  There’s so many places that I think Jaina could have traveled down the road that Sylvanas did.  They even alluded to it in one of the manga, I think, where they had Jaina dreaming of putting on the Lich King’s crown.

Anne Stickney:  In one of the Warcraft Legends ones, there was one where they were talking about the Nightmare War kind of indirectly, but they were talking about the dreams the different characters had.  Magni had one where Moira showed up again and had the son and was like, “Hi Daddy.  I’m back.”  And Magni was just like kind of horrified.  And they had Jaina and Jaina was the one, she dreamed that she was the one that fell into darkness and she was the one that rose up and became the Lich King, not Arthas.  It was kind of terrifying.

Apple Cider Mage:  It was like – what’s that character from Lord of the Rings who has that whole speech where Frodo offers her the ring and she has the whole “I could take the ring and become the most beautiful, powerful woman.”  I felt like that could have been that moment for Jaina and Jaina could have easily been on this list had things gone other ways.

Anne Stickney:  She almost was.  In Tides of War, she almost went off the deep end entirely.  She had every right to be what she was at that point.  Honestly, I think the most interesting point of that book was when Thrall showed up and he tried to stop her.  And she said, “This is all pretty much your fault anyway.”

Tzufit:  If only had anything reasonable to say to her aside from, “How come you’re not married?”

Anne Stickney:  I couldn’t believe that.  I understand why he said that because he just settled down and he’s going to have kids.  So that’s at the forefront of his mind.  But it’s like, dude, that is the last thing you want to say to Jaina right now.

Apple Cider Mage:  Step on back, Thrall.  It’s like the characters that we talked about today, a lot of them have problems.  There are still a lot of problems that Blizzard has with characterization, but I feel like so many of the villains, like we talked about at the beginning of the show, are so compelling because there are so many different arcs for them to take that the male villains in the story don’t get attracted to.  These revenge stories, these broken sort of backgrounds-

Anne Stickney:  Onyxia was there in the thick of things in Stormwind, and what was her brother Nefarion doing?  “Oh, I’m going to go play with some orcs up in Blackrock Spire, yay!”  That was the extent of him.

Apple Cider Mage:  I want them to have more prominence because of their political machinations, because of their power, because of their personalities, because of their drive for vengeance and power and control in a world that doesn’t always seem to appreciate them.

Anne Stickney:  Yeah.  I do have to admit – I wrote an article before Mists came out, I think, where I was asking what was up with women in Warcraft lore.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yes, I remember that.

Anne Stickney:  I was pointing out that so many of the female characters in Warcraft were pretty much tied to a dude.  It was like once they had a baby their story just sort of ended.  To me, that didn’t sit right.  My sister has 4 boys.  One of them’s 4 and then the eldest is like 16, I think.  It runs the gamut, and they’re all boys.  It doesn’t matter, because her story progressed so much when she had kids.  They’re constantly doing things.  My sister, she runs her own business, she on the side runs a ren faire, she dresses up as a pirate, she dresses up as a mermaid sometimes.  They shoot cannons, they shoot guns.  They have like a trebuchet.  Her kids lead the most adventurous life and she’s very much a part of that every step of the way along with their father, obviously.  But it was like life did not end for her when she had her babies.  It just began at that point in another direction.  In Warcraft, at least, it seems like once that baby is born that’s when their story stops.  It’s like they don’t know where to go from there, and that kind of irritated me because we didn’t really see any women who did things other than that.  When Mists came out, I have to admit, Mists has done an admirable job of breaking that particular stereotype that I was looking at.  You look at pandaren women, pandaren women aren’t sitting at home making meals.  They’re out there fighting with the Shado-Pan.  They’re out there in the world.  They’re just as beefy and warrior as any of the dudes are and nobody even comments on it, because that’s just how the pandaren are.  Jaina, we have Jaina take a different step all together, and I love the step that she’s taken.  Vareesa’s life has not ended with her husband’s death.

Tzufit:  Yeah.  That was the one I was going to bring up, too.  She has several children, I think.

Anne Stickney:  2.  Twin boys.

Tzufit:  2?  And certainly her duties as the ranger did not stop when she had those kids.  Her duty to the project on the Isle of Thunder now did not stop because her husband died or because she has responsibilities to her children.  She is still very much in the thick of things.

Anne Stickney:  Like I said, the direction that they’ve taken with female characters this expansion – with women.  I shouldn’t say female.  Every time I say “female,” or I hear anybody say “female,” all I can think of is like the Ferengi from Star Trek where they’re like “female.”  That’s all I hear when I hear somebody say that.  Anyway, women characters in Pandaria in particular they’ve kind of taken this step up where it’s not like they’re part of the scenery or they’re the happy housewives.  No, they’re out there kicking butt.

Tzufit:  And that’s so great, because they had a lot to prove after the final cinematic of Dragon Soul with the reveal with Aggra.  There was nowhere to go but up from there.

Anne Stickney:  I was so mad about Aggra, because when Aggra was introduced in The Shattering, I thought, “Hmm.  She’s kind of feisty.  She’s got a little bit of potential.”  And then Thrall:  Twilight of the Aspects came out and I was like, “She really does have potential because she puts him in his place.”  Like she literally puts him in his place.  As soon as he starts dogging on himself, she’s like right there to slap him upside the head and go, “You are a big dumb idiot, and this is what’s going on.”  And I’m like, “Ok.  Cool.  She’s kind of a badass.”  And then she has the baby and what have we seen of Aggra since then?  I want her to be fierce warrior mama.  I really do.  I hope we see her again.

Apple Cider Mage:  I hope that the next expansion is just like World of Warcraft:  Motherhood.

Anne Stickney:  I don’t think we really need to see that, but I really want to see – I loved her character and then it just seemed like her character got all wrapped up in that whole, “Well she’s destined to marry Thrall.  Here’s the wedding.  Ok, the end.”  And then she comes in at the end of the expansion and Alexstraza’s like “Oh hey, you’re pregnant.”  And Aggra’s like, “Oh man, I’m going to have a baby.  Wow!  Did we bone?  I don’t even remember boning.”  Sorry, that was probably inappropriate.

Apple Cider Mage:  No, it’s completely Ok.

Anne Stickney:  When did they have time?  Really, when did they have time?  They must have had time at some point.  So that’s where Thrall was when he wasn’t saving the world.  Ok.  The only point that we’ve seen her at all in this expansion, she was watching over the cradle and she tells Thrall to be safe.  That’s it.  I want to see her out there kicking butt.  I think it’d be fun.  Why not?

Apple Cider Mage:  Blizzard’s going to have to grapple a lot more with showing different kinds of women in different stages of their life, and motherhood needs to not be a detraction or a hamstring.

Tzufit:  Or the end.

Apple Cider Mage:  Yes.  And I think this is a good place to stop-

Anne Stickney:  Otherwise we’re going to keep going on forever, yeah.  I’m sorry.  I warned you.  What did I tell you when you were like, “Do you want to be on the show?”  I was like, “I can talk forever.”

Apple Cider Mage:  This has been a really good luck at not just women villains, but the kinds of women characters that Blizzard exalts but in their schemes and their machinations and their plots and their treason and their revenge.  So hopefully maybe this will open a door now in the future for different kinds of villains and heroes of women in Blizzard’s canon.  I would like to thank Anne for stopping by.

Tzufit:  Thank you, Anne.

Anne Stickney:  Stopping by for an extended chat that went on for – sorry, I warned you, dude.

Apple Cider Mage:  I have a feeling we’re going to have to split this episode up into 2 parts, but thank you so much for coming.  It was an amazing discussion and we’ll probably have to have you back on the show for more discussion in the future.

Tzufit:  Yeah, absolutely.

Anne Stickney:  Anytime you want to talk about dragons on the internet, I am so cool with that.

Tzufit:  I have to say that you have made me much more excited about Azshara and getting to face her eventually.  I knew that she was out there on the radar and I knew she was kind of an interesting character, but just what you talked about today has really made me be like, “Man, when are we going to get to see Azshara again?”

Anne Stickney:  She’s coming and when she shows up, there’s going to be hell to pay.  I can’t wait to see her, actually see her realized.  She’s going to be big.

Apple Cider Mage:  A heavyweight.

Anne Stickney:  She’s got to be.

Apple Cider Mage:  From all of us here at Justice Points podcast, thank you Anne for coming and taking the time to hang out with us.  We’d also like to thank our very awesome, generous Safe Shark Hosting, because hosting doesn’t have to bite.  Safe Shark Hosting does WordPress migration as well as WordPress and website hosting.  You can also reach us @justicepoints on Twitter as well as our website, justicepoints.com.

Tzufit:  Thanks for listening.  Thank you Anne.  Thank you Apple Cider.  That was a fantastic discussion.

Apple Cider Mage:  And we’ll see you next time.

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